Goldberg Variations, BMV 988 by Johann Sebastian Bach
Goldberg Variations, BMV 988 (1741) Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750) Theme Variation 1 Variation 2 Variation 7 The Goldberg Variations are named after Johann Goldberg, a 14 year old harpsichord virtuoso, who was sent to study with J.S Bach by Count Kaiserling. Kaiserling suffered from terrible insomnia and requested that Bach composed a piece for Goldberg to play during the night in an adjacent antechamber “which should be of such a smooth and somewhat lively character that he might be a little cheered up by them in his sleepless nights”.
Pavane pour une infante défunte by Maurice Ravel
Pavane pour une infante défunte (1899) Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) This piece was written as a piano piece for Princesse Edmond de Polignac and later orchestrated by Ravel himself. Today, many believe that this piece is about death, however Ravel stated that “it is not a funeral lament for a dead child, but rather an evocation of the pavane that might have been danced by such a little princess as painted by Velázquex”.
Between by David Sawer
Between (composed in 1998) David Sawer (1961-) ‘It is the purity and precision of David Sawer’s music that immediately capture the ear, the restlessly shifting, twinkling, swirling surfaces of his always glittering streams of sound. Yet, after only a moment or two, one realises that beneath the immediacy of the changing surfaces of this music, in the darker, colder, more slowly moving water down below, there are strange shadows, shapes that remind us of a different kind of meaning altogether.” - Gerard McBurney
Variations sur un theme dans le style ancient, Op.30 by Carlos Salzedo
Variations sur un theme dans le style ancient, Op.30 (1911) Carlos Salzedo (1885-1961) Theme (Maestoso) Double Bourrée Butterfly Chords and Fluxes Trills Scales and Arpeggios Salzedo remains one of the most famous harpist-teacher-composer in the harp world. After studying with Alphonse Hasselmans at the Paris Conservatoire for four years, at the age of sixteen won the permier prix in harp and piano on the same day. He developed a teaching method that focuses on the importance of the use of gestures to make performance aesthetic, inspired by dancer Vaslav Nijinsky. His compositions for solo harp pushed technical boundaries, inspiring other composers and turning the harp into a virtuosic instrument.